RVA Rope Study provides in-person instruction and online support materials to promote risk-aware rope bondage education for tops and bottoms. Our purpose is to foster an active, skilled, responsible, and well-informed rope community. We hope you will join us in that pursuit.

Upcoming Rope Study Events

Rope 201: Foundations
Spring, 2018

Rope 301: Partial Suspension Essentials
Spring, 2018

(more details here)

From the Calendar:

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We offer instruction designed to move members from beginner to advanced through regular class sessions and individual study and practice with the support of online materials provided on this site.

If you might like to study with us and want to be notified when classes start, please subscribe to the newsletter.

General Availability

Rope 101 is available online anytime. We also offer in-person Rope 101 classes at regular intervals throughout the year. Private instruction is generally available year-round as well. There are no prerequisites for these.

Rope 201 and Rope 301 are offered only in the fall and spring. Rope 101 is a prerequisite for Rope 201, and Rope 201 is a prerequisite for Rope 301. Participants who can demonstrate equivalent skills and experience may be exempted from these requirements. Additionally, since the classes in those courses build on each other, we do not accept new participants after the second week of classes.

Workshops are offered based on interest, time, and resources, and each workshop will have its own prerequisites where appropriate.

Our General Philosophy

We seek to inspire the thoughtful and responsible pursuit of rope bondage, and we consider ourselves life-long learners in that pursuit. We do our best to pass along what we have learned so far, but we make no claims to know all there is to know.

We resist dogma. Yet, while we recognize there is no “one right way” to practice rope, there are irresponsible ways.

We welcome questions. We admit to ignorance and respond to it with inquiry.

Core Values

We are guided by a set of core values that inform our approach to all rope interactions (see the About page for more details):

  • Scholarship – be a serious student, study and practice your art
  • Stewardship – be responsible for yourself and your actions, practice only with informed consent and at a level appropriate to your learning
  • Citizenship – be responsible for the health of your community and its members
  • Humility – be honest about your experience and skill level, be gracious to others, and acknowledge those who have helped you

Rope 101: An Introduction to Rope Bondage

Getting Started with Rope Restraints

This course provides an introductory overview of the world of rope bondage. It teaches basic concepts and ties to help participants start enjoying rope bondage in a variety of styles and for a variety of purposes. The online components of the course complement in-person instruction to get you started on your rope journey.

  • Cost: Free!
  • Number of Sessions: 2 sessions; 2 hours per session for in-person classes
  • Availability: Online anytime; in-person classes regularly offered concurrent with Rope Bite and Rope + More events
  • Prerequisite: None

Rope 201: Foundations of Rope Bondage

Tying Well, Not Patterns

This course examines the fundamental skills of Japanese-style rope bondage art and is designed for tops and bottoms who are ready to begin serious study of rope bondage in the Japanese style (typically called shibari or kinbaku). Rope bondage of the type we practice at this level and beyond can be dangerous and is technically challenging. Serious study is required in order to practice it responsibly and well. It may be better to think of this as taking up the goal of learning an instrument or a martial art: something that you must dedicate extended time and regular practice to in order to gain mastery.

  • Number of Sessions: 8 sessions; 3 hours per session
  • Availability: Offered in the spring and fall of each year
  • Prerequisite: Rope 101 (or equivalent skills/knowledge)

Rope 301: Partial Suspension Essentials

Up-Lines, Load, and the Importance of Structure

This course is designed for tops and bottoms who are ready to start exploring the essential elements of partial suspension in the Japanese style of rope bondage art. Adding suspension lines greatly increases the risks of rope bondage. Therefore, we expect students to have a firm grasp of the principles and skills covered in Rope 201 before taking this course.

  • Number of Sessions: 6 sessions; 2 hours per session
  • Availability: Offered in the spring and fall of each year
  • Prerequisite: Rope 201 (or equivalent skills/knowledge)

Rope 401: Full Suspension Essentials – coming soon

Levels, Management, and Transitions

This course is designed for tops and bottoms who are ready to start exploring the essential elements of full suspension in the Japanese style of rope bondage art. Adding suspension lines greatly increases the risks of rope bondage. Therefore, we expect students to have a firm grasp of the principles and skills covered in Rope 301 before taking this course.

  • Number of Sessions: 6 sessions; 2 hours per session
  • Availability: Offered in the spring and fall of each year
  • Prerequisite: Rope 301 (or equivalent skills/knowledge)

Workshops

Special Topics & Master Classes

Workshops focus on a particular skill, concept, tie or family of ties. They are held periodically and announced beforehand. Topics vary depending on interest and availability.

  • Cost: Varies by workshop
  • Number of Sessions:Varies by workshop
  • Availability: Depends on interest and schedules
  • Prerequisite: Varies by topic

Private Instruction

Working Together

We are available to work with you in one-on-one or small-group private instruction sessions to study any rope-related skills or concepts you’d like. Time and related expenses can be shared with others.

  • Cost: $40 for 2 hours (2-hour minimum per session); $30 for 2 hours when paying for 6 or more hours in advance
  • Availability: Year-round depending on schedule … please contact us for details
  • Prerequisite: None … we will work with you wherever you are to help you get where you want to go

Frequently-Asked Questions

Why do you charge money?

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Our purpose is to help foster a responsible and well-informed rope community. To that end, we organize a variety of free events and resources open to everyone (see the calendar for upcoming events).

However, to provide instruction at the level we offer here, we invest a good deal of our time and money. We charge for these services in order to off-set those costs so that we can continue to make these offerings available in a sustainable way. We greatly appreciate your support!

We re-invest the money into the rope community by improving facilities, hosting and maintaining the website, adding and improving instructional content and videos, and continuing to learn from top instructors in order to bring that learning back to the local community.

Do you offer any discounts?

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If you have a passion for rope bondage and a dedication to learning, we don’t want financial concerns to keep you from learning. If you have financial limitations or if you’re a full-time college student with a current school ID, we do offer discounts. Please contact us for more information before registering!

When can I take each class?

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  • Rope 101 consists of 2 sessions that are offered on a rotating basis throughout the year. You must take the sessions in order.
  • Rope 201 consists of 8 sessions that are offered in the spring and fall of each year. You must take the sessions in order.
  • Rope 301 consists of 6 sessions that are offered in the spring and fall of each year. You must take the sessions in order.
  • Full Suspension and Private Instruction are offered throughout the year (depending on availability). You can schedule sessions online or by contacting us.

Visit the calendar for current schedules or the course pages above for further details.

What is this? What is it NOT?

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At its core, Rope Study is a series of courses based on a structured curriculum designed to move cohort members through a progression of skills and understanding. As such, topics build on each other, and members are required to master some topics before they will gain access to others.

There is an expectation that members will practice the skills and review the information from the previous topics while using provided resources to prepare for the next topic. Members are also expected to adhere to the “core values.”

While we value the role of rope-centered social groups and skill-share opportunities, and while we do hope to enjoy the social aspect of the meetings and learn from the experiences and perspectives of all members, Rope Study is not a casual gathering, a social hangout, or a skill-share meeting. Therefore, it does not compete with such groups, but rather supports and relies on groups that serve those purposes.

What kind of rope work will I be learning?

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In Rope 101, we try to offer a broad overview of the various styles and approaches to rope bondage to help participants decide what appeals to them about rope.

Starting with Rope 201 and all subsequent courses, the rope work we practice is based on and inspired by the Japanese style of tying, often referred to as shibari or kinbaku. We don’t teach Western-style bondage or purely decorative bondage beyond Rope 101. While we value those forms of tying and don’t mean to denigrate them in any way, it’s simply not what we practice (and therefore, not what we teach). However, we do believe that the skills we teach at all levels are applicable to other forms of rope bondage. Still, if you’re interested in studying those styles of rope bondage specifically, please contact us, and we can try to direct you to good sources of information.

We also want to point out that if your goal is to simply find some ways to tie up your partner for play, then the content in Rope 101 will likely be more than enough to get you started. However, the kind of tying we teach in Rope 201 and beyond may be more than you’re looking for in that case. You can certainly take the skills we cover and apply them to that goal, but that is not the focus of those courses. Take Rope 101 and come out to Rope Bite, as many participants there can also help you with those goals.

Is this for beginners? Or do I already need to know some things?

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Rope 101 is designed for anyone new to rope! We explore various styles and approaches to rope bondage and provide some essential skills to get you tying.

Likewise, Rope 201 builds on Rope 101 and is designed for new rope artists ready to begin a serious study of rope bondage. If you’ve just discovered rope and are full of questions, this is the place for you!

Is this for experienced people?

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Yes, we believe all skill levels can benefit from 201: Foundations, as this course seeks to enhance your understanding of rope bondage and improve on the skills of tying well. Rope 301 and 401 are designed for more experienced rope artists who are ready to start adding load to their ties. Finally, our private instruction is open to all levels, but is where we work specifically with more advanced rope concepts, techniques, and patterns.

Being perpetual students ourselves, we feel new ideas are always worth exploring. We also believe that, by sharing your experience and helping others, you learn even more. Experienced participants in 201 have reported that they learned something new at each meeting, even if those things were smaller insights and details than what novices gained. However, it will be up to you to determine if the return on investment is high enough for a given course. You will still be asked to progress through the material in order, but we expect experienced participants to move through more quickly and to be able to help newer members.

Is a partner required?

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No … particularly for Rope 101. However, if you plan to continue studying rope bondage, it is recommended that you arrange someone to practice with during and between sessions. (Though please note that a “practice partner” does not necessarily mean a romantic or sexual partner.)

Rope is an art best practiced together, and our prices are structured to accommodate arrangements other than top/bottom pairs. However, given the nature of rope bondage practice, an equal number of tops and bottoms is ideal. We are open to singles and odd-numbered partnerships, but we cannot guarantee practice partners or equal practice times.

Also, to get the most from these courses, it’s important that you have someone with whom you can practice between classes. The more practice time you can put in between each class, the more quickly you will see your skills improve.

I’m a rope bottom. Will I get anything out of this, or is it mainly for tops?

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THESE COURSES ARE DESIGNED FOR BOTTOMS, TOO! We strongly believe that knowledge, skills, and experience are equally essential for both tops and bottoms, and we hope to encourage a culture where bottoms take an equal and active level of responsibility within the rope community. Therefore, we develop the materials with “both sides of the rope” in mind, and our curriculum has specific content designed for bottoms.

What should I bring? How should I dress?

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You should bring some rope 🙂

For the style of tying we’ll be doing, we recommend natural fiber ropes: jute, hemp, or linen. That’s not to say that you can’t study with us if you have different ropes, but you’ll want to avoid rope that is overly stretchy or slippery, as it will make it much harder for you to master the kinds of ties we’ll be studying.

In terms of specific numbers and related gear, we recommend:

Foundations:

  • 3 to 4 pieces of rope approx. 8 meters/26 feet
  • Safety cutters of some type

Partial Suspension:

  • 6 to 8 pieces of rope approx. 8 meters/26 feet (optional 2-3 pieces of approx. 4 meters/13 feet or shorter)
  • Safety cutters of some type
  • Climbing-grade sling or webbing (120cm and 60cm sling or approx. 30 ft. webbing recommended)
  • Ring and/or carabiners (3+)
  • Marlin spike (optional)

Full Suspension:

  • 8 to 10 pieces of rope approx. 8 meters/26 feet (optional 2-3 pieces of approx. 4 meters/13 feet or shorter)
  • Safety cutters of some type
  • Climbing-grade sling or webbing (120cm and 60cm sling or approx. 30 ft. webbing recommended)
  • Ring and/or carabiners (3+)
  • Marlin spike (optional)

For more about rope, see Types of Rope in the Rope 101 course.

Because our studio is at a private residence, we ask that participants dress “vanilla to the door.” Once inside, we recommend that tops wear comfortable, loose clothes that allow free movement without anything getting in the way. For bottoms, we recommend light-weight, fitted clothing that will not move with the rope or interfere with wrap placement. Very smooth clothing, like satin or pantyhose, will cause the rope to slip a lot and should be avoided. We do ask that all participants wear panties/underwear at minimum, but otherwise, you may be as naked as you’d like inside the studio. To help those who are cold-natured, layers are encouraged.

You are also encouraged to bring a mat and/or blanket. The floors at our studio have 1/2″ mats, but you will likely appreciate also having your own mat and/or blanket.

We also suggest bringing whatever will help you keep track of your learning: a notebook and paper, a tablet, a computer, etc. While we do not allow the videotaping of the course sessions, we do allow photos of your own work (provided no others are in the shot without explicit permission), so a camera or phone-camera can also be helpful.

Finally, we encourage you to bring a water bottle and a few snacks to help tops and bottoms maintain their energy throughout the session.

Is this a replacement for Rope Bite and other social/peer/skill share rope groups?

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Definitely not! RVA Rope Bite and other similar groups in the area offer regular social gatherings and skill-shares for local people who enjoy rope and want to spend time getting to know each other, discussing their successes and challenges, sharing their knowledge, and tying together. Given the open nature of these groups, it can be difficult to work through a structured curriculum with a consistent group of members.

In contrast, we are a rope study group for people who want to move through a structured examination of their rope skills in a committed cohort of peer learners. That structure and commitment allows us to study in ways that aren’t otherwise possible.

However, we want to make clear that this is not, in any way, a critique of other groups that follow the open, skill-share model. We help run a number of those groups and value that approach! We believe that both types of opportunities are important parts of a healthy rope community.

Who are the instructors?

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alexMa’iitsoh Yazhi is a rope bondage educator and photographer. He has over 15 years of experience in education and training, and he’s been practicing rope bondage since early 2012. He spent his first year with rope in a mentorship, practicing intensely multiple times each week. Since then, he’s taken classes with some of the most respected tops and bottoms in the field. These experiences led him to focus on “tying well, not patterns” in his own approach to rope education. He also practices photography and has a particular love for rope bondage photography. This inspires his preference for clean, aesthetically-interesting rope. He also leads RVA Rope and Central Virginia Erotic and Fetish Photography.


boundlightBound Light is a rope bondage educator and model. She has been practicing rope bondage since early 2012. She started as a rope bottom, but soon took up self-tying when she moved to a location without an active rope scene. She’s learned bottoming skills from many well-known rope bottoms and has attended classes with some of the most respected rope tops as an active participant. She’s recently started tying others, applying what she learned through bottoming and self-tying to her work as a rope top. She particularly enjoys modeling for rope bondage photography. She leads RVA Rope with a focus on Top-Less Tying and Acro Rope and More as well as Central Virginia Erotic and Fetish Photography.

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